En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - April 19, 2005

From: orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Treatment of mealy bugs on house plants
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have some house plants that have a "fungi" that has appeared and spread from one to the others. I believe it is killing the plants. It is a white fuzz the is sticky to the touch. when i whip it off the leaves it comes right back. I lost one plant and another is on its way out. It is also on my ponytail plant it weights down the leaves. could you help me get rid of the "fungi" before it kills all my house plants. thank you

ANSWER:

I suspect that the problem you are seeing on your Ponytail Palm and other house plants is actually an insect called mealybugs. Mealybugs are among the very few problems affecting Ponytail Palms. They are small insects that look like tiny, flattened roly-polies or pillbugs when not covered by a large mass of white, waxy "cotton". The waxy coating they exude helps to protect them from predators. Mealybugs may be killed by wiping them with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. More than one treatment may be required to get them all as they are quite adept at finding places to hide. Also, eggs and nymphs (juveniles) are so tiny that they sometimes avoid the alcohol treatment on the first pass.
 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Trees and shrubs turning brown in Dripping Springs TX
October 31, 2011 - Due to the extended drought - a number of trees and shrubs in our Dripping Springs area property have turned brown. Specifically: Live Oak; Agarita; Ash Juniper; Cedar Elm. Is this a dormant stag...
view the full question and answer

Esperanza with rust spots in Corpus Christi, TX
November 30, 2009 - I have a young esperanza plant and the leaves have what looks like rust spots all over them. What is the cause of this and what can I do for it? My other larger and older esperanza does not have this....
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Fasciation in Houston.
March 29, 2008 - I live in Houston and have had a rather large flower garden for many years. Most of the flowers are just gorgeous but over the last two or three years I have noticed that occasionally some of the flo...
view the full question and answer

Loss of blooms in potted plants in Hawaii
November 11, 2007 - My lanai is in strong afternoon sun and no matter what "full sun" plants I try to grow they quickly stop blooming. Plumeria, Hibiscus, Echinacea, even Bougainvillea...they continue to grow but lose...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center